Sarah Irvin: A Group of Related Things at Culture House DC
Massey Klein Gallery, in partnership with Culture House DC, presents Sarah Irvin’s A Group of Related Things. The exhibition is on view from May 22 - July 17, 2021 and is open to the public each Saturday from 12pm – 3pm. No appointments are required. Virtual talks and other programming will be announced during the course of the exhibition.
A Group of Related Things functions as a survey of Sarah Irvin’s work over the last five years. The exhibition’s wide ranging media—sculpture, drawing, alternative photography, and video—is held together by the common thread of the artist’s experience caring for her child. Irvin’s practice traverses philosophical, biopolitical, and artistic twenty-first century dialogues about reproduction to produce art that is evocative and original, bringing the durational events and material objects of child-rearing into contexts that reveal and problematize their relation to larger structural systems such as the economy, public health, education, and the dynamics of social relations.
The body is not absent in Irvin’s work, but invisible; indexed rather than reproduced. As such, Irvin’s work complicates the art-historical iconography of motherhood that often depicts tender moments of mothering as voyeuristic engagements with the female body. Irvin therefore inverts the power dynamics at play by documenting her care and her labor instead of her form, and disrupts the dualistic hierarchical concepts of producer/reproducer aligned with male/female binaries by using durational action and experience as a point of departure.
Irvin’s conceptual approach of artist-as-archivist is a practice of open categorization deploying provisional meaning-making boundaries formed materially in the art object only to be rethought and remade in subsequent work - producing a way of knowing that is grounded in specific engagements rather than through the illusion of detached reason. The works in the exhibit cover topics of postpartum mental health, infant care and feeding, the material-semiotic engagements between parent and child, and caregiving during the pandemic.
About the Artist
Sarah Irvin holds an MFA in Painting from George Mason University and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Georgia. Irvin has been featured in more than twenty solo shows as well as more than fifty group exhibitions internationally. Irvin’s work is included in the prestigious corporate collections of Capital One, Four Seasons Hotel, Federal Reserve Bank, and Royal Caribbean, as well as the private collections of Quirk Hotel, Try-Me Urban Restoration Project, and the University of Richmond. She is the founder of the Artist Parent Index, a searchable database of artists making work about their experience with reproduction and caring for their children. Additionally, Irvin advocates for social and political equity through artist talks and critiques, panel talks, forums, guest curatorial roles, and her peer-reviewed writing.
Culture House DC is located at 700 Delaware Ave. SW, Washington, DC 200024. The exhibition is open to the public May 22 - July 17, 2021 on Saturdays from 12-3pm and by appointment.
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